Telecoms and cloud company Tata Communications, the official connectivity provider to Formula 1, is challenging the motorsports and technology communities to devise ways of enhancing the fan experience through IoT and mobile.
The challenge is the second part of the 2017 F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize, now in its fourth year, which explores the challenges and opportunities of using technology in Formula 1 racing. In partnership with Formula One Management and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Tata Communications launched the first part of the challenge back in May.
At that stage, the companies were on the hunt for ideas for IoT solutions that could be used by the team to boost performance on major Grand Prix tracks around the world. With three lucky winners already selected, the next challenge is to “design a holistic and immersive fan experience at the race track” by leveraging IoT and mobile technology at each Grand Prix event.
Each submission must provide a conceptualization of a detailed, IoT-enabled digital experience for the whole race weekend. This could range from the quality of pre-event experience to the convenience of trackside security and access. Submissions must also include a high-level architecture explaining how the various components of the experience will work together and be consumed through the fan app; a list of connected devices needed; and the network connectivity required.
The expert panel of judges includes three-time Formula One World Drivers’ Champion, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG Petronas; James Allison, technical director of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport; Martin Brundle, former F1 race driver and F1 commentator for Sky Sports F1; Mehul Kapadia, managing director of F1 Business at Tata Communications; John Morrison, chief technical officer, Formula 1; and Ross Brawn, managing director of Motorsports, Formula 1.
The judges will assess each entry on the basis of innovation and creativity, technical content, quality of material and input, the originality of the idea, the feasibility of deployment and conformity to the brief.
Servicing a global fan base
“We want to see how through IoT solutions we could enhance the F1 racing experience for the millions of fans who attend the Grands Prix all over the world – from before they even arrive at the track till the end of the race weekend,” said John Morrison, chief technical officer of Formula 1.
“Through a mobile app connected to sensors at the track, fans could tune into customized live video feeds based on their favorite team or driver, take part in live polls and synchronized cheering, and interact more seamlessly with other fans on social media. Fans’ emotions could also be tracked to create aggregate emotion charts on large displays at the circuit, creating a more interactive, immersive and thrilling race experience.”
The digital transformation of Formula 1
The judges pick three winners from each of the two challenges set by Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport and Formula 1, with the six winners from both challenges being awarded trips to the 2017 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where the jury will announce the Grand Prize winner. The Grand Prize is a cheque for $50,000.
“F1 is the most technically advanced sport in the world, yet we’ve barely scratched the surface of what can be achieved with digital technologies,” said Ross Brawn, managing director of motorsports at Formula 1.
“By harnessing fans and tech enthusiasts’ brainpower and passion, we look to accelerate the digital transformation of F1, as the way people want to watch and engage with their favorite sports continues to be shaped by technology.”
A full brief for the challenge is online. The closing date for entrants is August 2 2017.